WEST Coast has started the season in perfect fashion with Josh Kennedy kicking eight goals in a 64-point win over the Brisbane Lions at Domain Stadium on Sunday evening.
The Eagles did as they pleased for much of the night with Matt Priddis racking up an astonishing 29 first-half possessions on his way to 43 in the 26.10 (166) to 15.12 (102) win.
With Lions full-back Daniel Merrett withdrawing due to illness, reigning Coleman medallist Kennedy enjoyed plenty of freedom up forward.
As well as booting eight majors, Kennedy dished off four goal assists from his 25 possessions and 16 marks.
Nic Naitanui was a powerful force in the ruck with 22 touches, six marks and 46 hit-outs to comfortably beat opposite number Stef Martin.
Josh Hill and Jamie Cripps also benefited up forward with three goals apiece for the Eagles.
Eric Mackenzie returned from a knee reconstruction to be outstanding down back while Andrew Gaff had 33 possessions, Luke Shuey (30) and former Lion Jack Redden (25) in his first game at his new club.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan might be happy with the more attacking style and 41 goals kicked, but Eagles coach Adam Simpson not so much.
"It was a weird game and Gill's got his request. High-scoring footy was at its best," Simpson said, labelling the fledgling trend footy's "new frontier".
"I'm not entirely happy with the defence. We conceded 100-odd points from 43 entries and that's not good enough."
The Lions battled hard and will be pleased to have kicked 15 goals, but lacked the class of the Eagles and were never really in the contest.
Allen Christensen and Lewis Taylor kicked three goals each for the Lions, while No.2 draft pick Josh Schache kicked two on debut in an encouraging performance.
The recently re-signed Daniel Rich was terrific with 23 possessions, two goals and 11 tackles.
Tom Bell, Ryan Bastinac and Tom Rockliff worked hard, while Mitch Robinson had a mixed day, appearing to injure a calf late and also getting reported for rough conduct in the second quarter.
Lions coach Justin Leppitsch was happy with his team's approach but wants an improvement in turnovers.
"I thought our style of play was much better," Leppitsch said.
"We actually won scores from stoppages well but the difference in the score was from turnovers.
"We shot ourselves in the foot a little bit but at least we are playing with a bit of flair and we'll continue that."
West Coast: Eagles swingman Jeremy McGovern suffered a shoulder scare in the first quarter. He went to the rooms but returned soon after and laid some heavy bumps after returning. Coach Adam Simpson said the defender was fine.
Brisbane Lions: Mitch Robinson hurt his calf in the second half after a very productive first half and spent most of the last quarter on the bench. He will be assessed this week. He was also reported for rough conduct but would appear unlikely to face sanction after running into the back of Xavier Ellis. Tom Rockliff had ice on his forearm late in the game and had to be managed through his first game of the season but coach Justin Leppitsch said his skipper was OK.
The Lions return home for their first game of the year at the Gabba against North Melbourne on Saturday. The Eagles will watch the Cats-Hawks Easter Monday blockbuster closely before flying to Melbourne to meet Hawthorn in a Grand Final rematch next Sunday at the MCG.
WEST COAST 7.4 13.7 19.9 26.10 (166)
BRISBANE LIONS 5.2 7.4 11.7 15.12 (102)
West Coast: Kennedy 8, Cripps 3, Hill 3, Darling 2, Bennell 2, Naitanui 2, LeCras 2, McGovern, Redden, Yeo, Ellis
Brisbane Lions: Taylor 3, Christensen 3, Schache 2, Rockliff 2, Walker 2, Rich 2, Hanley
West Coast: Kennedy, Priddis, Naitanui, Bennell, Shuey, Gaff
Brisbane Lions: Bell, Taylor, Rich, Christensen, Robinson, Bastinac
West Coast: Nil
Brisbane Lions: Merrett (illness) replaced in selection side by Beams, Robinson (calf)
Reports: Mitch Robinson (Brisbane Lions) reported for rough conduct on Xavier Ellis (West Coast) in the second quarter
Umpires: Fisher, Stephens, Pannell
Official crowd: 35,201 at Domain Stadium